Still more lazy thoughts from this one…

TMT: Rated-R

This is the next entry in a Theatre… a Movie… and a Time, a series that was begun here. It’s no secret, Joe Dante’s Trailers From Hell is a frequented site of mine. One of my preferred ‘Trailer Gurus’ is screenwriter Josh Olson. He wrote the screenplay for another favorite, A History of Violence, and has MC’d a number of American Cinematheque’s revival screenings I’ve attended. Even offered a comment on this blog. His take of the violent, highly controversial film of Sam Peckinpah’s the motivation for today’s memory download.


The Huntington Park Warner Theatre:


straw dogs


January 1972: I’ve mentioned obtaining my driver’s license at 16 was one of independence and getting out of town. It also meant I could finally prove my age. The ability to grow a mustache since ninth grade was only cool to a fleeting extent. ID cut both ways, though. “Getting carded”, a saying not around when I turned 17 in the summer of ’71, threw up temp barriers for alcohol or getting into a strip joint. The latter existed on nearby Long Beach Blvd., which we’d even duck into it for quick peeks, before being chased out.

Standard for hormone-fueled high school seniors like myself.

107px-RATED_R.svgA class of young males wholly unprepared for maturity, let alone dates. So the next best thing for us, without internet, DVD…hell, VHS tape, was watching risqué movies. We certainly couldn’t get into the Lyric Theatre, the “adult” movie venue in Huntington Park at this age. The result? On the prowl for a certain kind of film, whenever it hit local movie theaters.

The Rated-R flick.

We all knew what that meant. Nudity and/or sex up on the big screen. They sometimes granted this rating for violence, but the first two were what the “uptight” (a term certainly of my era) MPAA sought to suppress. Naturally, it only spurred the aroused on. Whether the movie was a) good, or b) compelling, didn’t count for much with horny male teens, regardless.

Only demanding the story hurry up and get to “the good parts”.

Sam Peckinpah’s Straw Dogs had my relatives debating after they’d all seen it. My aunts not really liking it. Their husbands diplomatically calling it “interesting” when in the same room with them. This immediately put it on my radar now that I didn’t need to be “…accompanied by parent or guardian” for such fare. The Huntington Park Warner Theatre screening it after South Gate High’s Christmas break. I’d check off the nudity, sex, and violence boxes in my mind’s scorecard afterwards. Coming to a startling realization:

“Hey, that’s Dustin Hoffman, the guy from The Graduate. The one who screwed Mrs. Robinson.”

The entire TMT series can be found here. If you’re interested how it’s put together, click here.

11 Responses to “TMT: Rated-R”

  1. cindybruchman

    LOL. Fun post, Michael. Things have changed, don’t you think? I watch today’s PG-13 and I can’t believe it’s not rated R. You can get boobies and butts all day long. I cite PG-13, X-Men Days of Future Past, as an example.


      • jackdeth72

        Hi, all:

        I see your Wolverine’s butt. And raise you the immortal, “once seen, cannot be unseen” post shower, pre coital image of Dennis Franz’s nekkid butt in a much lauded scene from Bochco’s ‘NYPD Blues’.



  2. jackdeth72

    That was a brutal, yet basically true trailer about a film dissecting a man (Hoffman) marrying beyond his range or reach. Involved in a violent male “Pissing Contest from Hell”.

    Hoffman should have stayed on campus.

    Intriguing choice and dissertation. I would loved to listen within the shadows to the between scenes and late into the night “discussions”. Hoffman and Sam does not sound like a cozy or friendly fit.


    • le0pard13

      An apt description of this film, Kevin. Indeed. It’s certainly one that’s lost none of its power. Have you seen the film’s recent remake? I have it in the stack and wondered if its any good. Thanks, my friend 🙂


  3. John DuMond

    To this day, I still have not seen this movie. I think I’ll put in a request for the DVD from one of the neighboring libraries (my local branch doesn’t have a copy). Thanks for motivating me. 😀



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